Shooting tardigrades from cannons doesn’t really sound like scientific research. However, researchers have done just that.
Tardigrades are a rather ugly animal with a length of half a millimeter. Forget about cockroaches, these are the most powerful animals in the whole world. They could be the only ones able to survive in space. But can they also travel on a meteorite? Thus bringing life to a planet?
To answer this question, researchers at the University of Kent put 20 slow brewers into hibernation by freezing them. Then they were fired into a pile of sand at tremendous speeds into cylinders filled with water. When colliding at a speed above 900 meters per second, the animals turned out to be not strong enough. A meteorite on a collision course has higher average collision velocities, which makes it unlikely that life could have spread in this way.
But yes: if, for whatever reason, the collision velocity is less than 900 meters per second, and if the conditions are right, they can reach a new planet.
Read more about the research here: Tardigrades are hard-tested to simulate the movement of life through space.
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